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Lax Game Preview: St. John’s at Providence

The Red Storm begin conference play with a trip up to Providence.

The road to becoming Big East Lacrosse champions starts on Saturday for the Red Storm.

After all, they have just as much of a chance as anyone else as they are 0-0 in conference at the moment... OK, this might be wishful thinking, as St. John's may struggle to even win one game in Big East play this season.

The Johnnies (1-8) are coming into their matchup against Providence on Saturday on a four-game losing streak. Their only victory this season was over Siena, who is currently ranked 58th out of 69 Division I teams.

The Friars (6-3) are riding a three-game winning streak as the get ready for the Johnnies. They have had a nice and consistent season so far. They do not have any bad losses, but they don't have any great wins either. Their best win was against #34 Hofstra a couple weeks ago. Senior Will Mazzone is a one-man wrecking crew for the Friars, as he leads the team in goals and assists. He is 18th in the country in points per game, averaging 4.00 per contest.

What to watch for in conference play

Tough competition: The Big East only sponsors six teams and four of them are at least three games over .500 heading into conference play, so the schedule does not get much easier for St. John's the rest of the way.

Denver is the defending national champions and is currently 4th in the country. They were ranked #1 in recent polls, but just suffered their first loss of the season against Penn State. Villanova is ranked 6th in the country with their only two losses coming to Ivy League powers Harvard and Brown. Marquette is also 6-1 on the season and received votes in the latest poll. The best chance St. John's may have to pull out a win would be against Georgetown in the regular season finale. The Hoyas were ranked in the preseason but are currently sitting at 1-8 on the season.

For more, see Anonymous Eagle's comprehensive Big East preview, 2016 Big East Men's Lacrosse: Where Are We Now.

Goalkeeper battle: Another thing to watch for the rest of the season is who is in goal for the Johnnies.

Junior Joseph Danaher has started six games this season but has played 100 fewer minutes than redshirt freshman Michael O'Keefe.

Danaher has a higher save percentage but also has a higher goals against average than O'Keefe. It does not really matter who head coach Jason Miller has in net, as the Johnnies are not getting enough offense anyway. Maybe Miller will surprise us all and play Senior Harry Burke, who has also appeared in a game this season.

Game Details

Who: St. John's Red Storm (1-8) at Providence Friars (6-3)

Where: Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium, Providence, R.I.

When: Saturday, April 2, 1p.m.

Video: friars.com (with subscription)

Gametracker: Available on redstormsports.com and friars.com

Twitter: Follow @StJohnsLax for updates

Fun Fact: St. John's is 15-0 all-time against Providence in a series that dates back to 1987.